; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: October 2014

Monday, 27 October 2014

Urinetown: The Musical

Coming to the Firehall Arts Centre on November 1 is Broadway smash Urinetown: The Musical! Winner of three Tony awards, including Best Book and Best Original Score, Urinetown is a satirical comedy about a town where you have to pay to pee!

Urinetown runs at the Firehall Arts Centre from November 1 - 29 !

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Margaret Cho in Vancouver

Comedienne Margaret Cho hits town to rock the mic on November 1at the River Rock Casino.

Tickets on sale via Ticketmaster.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Vancouver Opera presents: Stickboy

"There's a bully in all of us." So is the tagline for the world premiere of this original piece presented by the Vancouver Opera.

"The inner life of a young boy is at the heart of this moving and meaningful new opera by world-renowned spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan and composer Neil Weisensel. Bravely autobiographical, beautifully poetic, visually innovative and musically memorable, Stickboy confronts the uncomfortable reality of a society struggling with its own fear and insecurity, a society that seeks conformity and uniformity at the expense of those who are different."

Stickboy runs at the Vancouver Playhouse from October 23 to November 7. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Evil Dead: The Musical

Returning to Vancouver is the cult hit, Evil Dead: The Musical, complete with Splatter Zone in effect!

Down Stage Right Productions brings this Sam
 classic back just in time for Halloween to tell "the age old tale: five college
 kids travel
 an abandoned
 woods, boy meets girl, boy expects
 unleashes evil spirit, girl meets the big bad and boy meets chainsaw instead. Friends into lovers, lovers into
 friends, and friends
 Candarian Demons. Mayhem
 ensues, and don't forget
 the spectacular singing
 and dancing. 
 Now and 

Bigger, badder, and bloodier, Evil Dead The Musical plays at the Norman Rothstein Theatre from October 22 to November 1.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Show Tune Sunday at The Junction

Join us for Show Tunes at The Junction on Davie Street on Sunday October 19 from 3-7pm for some spooky show tunes to get you in the mood for Halloween! There will also be prizes including tickets to Margaret Cho, Stickboy the Opera, Urinetown the Musical, and Evil Dead The Musical!!

Find us on Facebook!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Carrie: The Musical

What better way to get your freak on just in time for Halloween than with one of Broadway's biggest commercial flops? That's right, Carrie: The Musical is now on in Vancouver, at the Jericho Arts Centre!

Fighting Chance Productions brings this cult classic to life for the month of October with this Canadian regional premiere of the musical. The night I attended, the most terrifying part of the evening was the sound system, which had some unfortunate snafus throughout much of the first act. Luckily, things got fixed up in time for people to enjoy the rest of the show.

If you're not familiar with the story of Carrie, it's based on the horror book by Stephen King, about a telekinetic girl who gets picked on and is raised by a super religious mother. Pushed to the edge, Carrie eventually wreaks havoc on those who have done her wrong.

The Jericho Arts Centre is the perfect venue for it, as it adds to the creep factor being isolated all the way out near the edge of the woods as it is. Ranae Miller does a great job as Carrie, both acting and singing-wise. She is meek and cowering, yet bursting to be bold and longing to fit in. Hurt and betrayed, her anger is malleable and fills the room as the show comes to its iconic climax.

A wonderful treat for Halloween! Carrie: The Musical is on now until October 25th at the Jericho Arts Centre. Tickets available online.  (There is even merchandise available for the show from pins and buttons to Carrie t-shirts to a Carrie carrying case!)

The Rainmaker

Pacific Theatre kicks off its 2014/15 season with a classic country tale of faith and lust in N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker.

Photo by Emily Cooper. Pictured: Robert Salvador, Pippa Johnstone, John Voth  

The story revolves around a family of men who are trying to help the lone female of the group, Lizzie, get married off. Set on a farm in yesteryear, the brothers and father hatch a plan to score the town widower for Lizzie, whose low self-esteem prevents her from believing in herself and fulfilling her dreams.

In fact, the majority of the characters are afflicted with the same feelings of low self-worth. The widower doesn't seem to feel he's worthy of a companion, while one of Lizzie's brothers battles with being regarded as the dumb one.

Photo by Emily Cooper. Pictured: Kenton Klassen, Pippa Johnstone, Andrew Wheeler, Ryan Scramstad.    
On top of all the family drama, the entire town has to deal with a drought that is slowly but surely killing their crops and farm life. Enter in the Rainmaker, played by Robert Salvador (from last season's Espresso). Here, he easily takes on the persona of a slimy con artist cowboy with a heart of gold. He manages to add layers of mystery and complexity to the show, as he squares off in his cowboy boots against all the other characters, making them question themselves and their beliefs.

Photo by Emily Cooper. Pictured: Ryan Scramstad, Robert Salvador, Andrew Wheeler. 
Will the Rainmaker save the day? Will he bring rain and end the drought, both in the weather and in Lizzie's love life? This is a lovely production with a cozy set designed brilliantly by John Webber. With Thanksgiving upon us and Christmas just around the corner, this is a great kick off to the holiday season with its heartwarming sentimentality and family dynamics.

The Rainmaker is on now until November 1st at The Pacific Theatre.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Mandrake

Based on "the greatest play in the Italian language," (La Mandragola by Machiavelli), The Mandrake makes its debut here in Vancouver at the Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive. Theatre Pandora introduces us to their new artistic director Tom McLaren who has journeyed over the great oceans from the United Kingdom to be here.

The play itself is a comedic farce revolving around con artists, lust, and a quick paced rapport between the two actors who, in this new take on the story, take on 8 different characters and even rotate characters between one another throughout the play! It's not as confusing as it might sound, as both Valerie Pauwels and Trent Red do a tight job juggling all the roles, and occasionally breaking down that fourth wall to make sure the audience is still on the same page.

It's that breaking of the fourth wall that really pulls together what the shows seeks to convey. In a epilogue of sorts, the actors discuss the role of identity and acting and how in this world we call a stage, we are all but actors taking on whichever identity fits us at the time. By donning different costumes and accents, the actors have managed to showcase that lesson in this vehicle, leaving us to wonder if we truly are who we say we are.

The Mandrake is on now until October 11th at the Havana Theatre.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

My Rabbi

Kicking off the 2014/2015 season for the Firehall Arts Centre is a timely, politically-infused portrait of friendship, hate, and religion. My Rabbi is the story of two friends, Arya (who is Muslim) and Jacob (who is Jewish).

Told through a jumping timeline, we are introduced to the characters in present day Toronto, years after their friendship has dissipated, while traveling back to see how two buddies came to grow so far apart. The religious backgrounds of both play a vital role in their separation, slowly building a wall up between them.

Both Kayvon Kelly and Joel Bernbaum weave back and forth between the past and the present, swapping out their hats and yamakas to take on auxiliary characters such as distant fathers, racist border guards, radical relatives, and more. With creative (yet simple) staging and lighting, we are transported from pub to pub, into a Jewish synagogue, and even bear witness to an exchange of letters/emails eloquently depicted between the two characters. This 65 minute show has enough complexity in its subject matter to encourage dialogue (at times, a bit too forcefully) which is the mark of a thought-provoking button-pushing piece of work.

My Rabbi plays at the Firehall Arts Centre until October 18th.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Kosmic Mambo at Studio 58

Kosmic Mambo is a hypnotizing, time-traveling, space race fantasia with a sense of humour.

The story adapts The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the Coleridge poem, into a compelling story of a dangerous journey, a shipwreck, and a condemned captain, whose spirit is forced to wander the Earth telling the cautionary tale of his wrathful actions, death, and damnation.

Cosmonauts + scientists, photo by David Cooper

The Coleridge poem from 1798 is remixed into a sci-fi story set during the end of the U.S./Soviet Union space race in the late 1960's. It tells a fictitious story of the USSR's failed attempt to send six cosmonauts to Mars in response to America's successful moon landing.

In honour of the real space race, the play debuted October 4, the anniversary of the launching of the first man-made satellite, Sputnik in 1957.

This play is the latest in a series of physical theatre pieces that started 25 years ago at Studio 58. Physical theatre means that the story is told—for the most part—non-verbally. The storyline is communicated through the body—and in this case, quite well. I never lost track of the story.

However, there were times I found myself wishing the physical movements had been more refined. Some of the actors' movements were a bit heavy in some of the dancing or when simulating zero gravity. (It looked more like 20% gravity at times.) To their credit, I will say those zero-gravity scenes look like they take a lot of strength and flexibility! The lab-coated scientists who manned gorgeous, high-production-value sets, had some of the best choreography of the play.

The music, which co-creator David Mackay, aptly describes as, "hallucinogenic," samples from Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, the soundtrack to "2001," and Queen (which accompanies a delightful Busby-Berkeley-inspired dance number). And if you're not into classic rock, don't worry the music is short and they do play some Goldfrapp to cleanse your palate.

This play really pleased and entertained my inner geek. The bad part is that it reminds you how long ago the space race seems now.

Kosmic Mambo

October 02 - October 19, 2014
Studio 58/Langara College
100 West 49th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 2Z6

Tickets are $12-$25 at TicketsTonight.com.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

VIFF: 52 Tuesdays

This Australian feature focuses on the lives of a transgendered Female To Male who is going through transition and the impact it has on his 16 year old daughter. The daughter is the main focus of the movie, and perhaps it's because actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey does such a precise job at being a self-involved teenager that I was completely annoyed by her. Her transitioning parent however, is played delicately by Del Herbert-Jane and I quite enjoyed her performance.

It's a tough topic that's done with tenderness and openness, showcasing how a family can get through change together.

52 Tuesdays plays at the Vancouver International Film Festival on Oct 7 at 1:30pm at the SFU Woodwards theatre.

Friday, 3 October 2014

VIFF: Advanced Style

This joyous and celebratory documentary brought tears of happiness to my eyes! With both screenings already sold out, Advanced Style seems to be one of the Must Sees of the Film Fest this year!

The film features several older women of New York who dress to the nines on a daily basis, and are captured on camera by Ari Seth Cohen, who started documenting fashionable older ladies on his blog of the same name, Advanced Style.

Directed by Lina Plioplyte, who was there in attendance, this remarkable and brilliant film will give everyone hope through fashion and the lives of these fantastic people! (I got to thank Lina personally for making such a wonderful film! Yay!)

The next sold out screening of Advanced Style takes place Sunday October 5 at 7pm at the Vancouver Playhouse. News has it that the film will be making a return during the VIFF Repeats series, at the Vancity Theatre, so keep your eyes and ears open!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Show Tunes Night at 1181

Something WICKED this way comes... It's a Wicked-ly inspired Show Tunes night on October 3 at 1181 Davie Street, as we celebrate the start of October in all its witchy glory! Come on by for the happiest happy hour of the month!  Check out the Facebook page for more information!